The Benefits of Shopping at Zero Waste Stores
March 28, 2024

The Benefits of Shopping at Zero Waste Stores

In recent years, the zero waste movement has gained significant traction, with individuals and communities worldwide seeking sustainable alternatives to traditional consumerism. At the forefront of this movement are zero waste stores like Ekologicall, offering an array of eco-friendly products and promoting a lifestyle that prioritizes environmental consciousness. Shopping at zero waste stores has remarkable benefits and making the switch can lead to a more sustainable future for both individuals and the planet.

1. What is exactly a Zero Waste Store?

Zero waste stores promote the sustainable purchasing of goods like home and personal care items with minimal to no disposable packaging. Most products are loose rather than pre-packaged so you can purchase the exact amounts you need and bring reusable containers from home to carry purchases. Some unique offerings at zero waste shops include:

  • Reusable produce bags, compostable sponges
  • Shampoo bars, reusable makeup pads
  • Dishes and cutlery for take-out food
  • Bulk cleaning and laundry supplies
  • Some also offer bulk grains, nuts, seeds or fresh produce


Ekologicall's client home delivery, using their own containers

2. Reducing Plastic Consumption

Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, with devastating consequences for marine life, ecosystems, and human health. By shopping at zero waste stores, consumers have the opportunity to significantly reduce their packaging hence plastic consumption. Unlike conventional supermarkets where products are often packaged in single-use plastic, zero waste stores encourage customers to bring their own containers and refill them with bulk goods such as cleaning products, soap, shampoo. When we know that an American goes through 11 bottles of shampoo a year on average, this simple yet impactful change helps minimize the amount of plastic waste generated and contributes to a cleaner, healthier environment. The EPA estimated only 5% of plastic waste in the U.S. was recycled in 2022, reducing single-use packaging by shifting toward refillable and reusable through zero waste products makes a significant impact.

Ekologicall operates mostly as a closed-loop system. We receive our refillable products in large buckets, once they are empty, we return them to the manufacturers, which are also small businesses. These containers are then sanitized and reused, minimizing the need for single-use packaging and contributing to a circular economy that conserves resources and reduces waste, and lower our carbon footprint. 

Bulk Laundry Detergent buckets

Empty laundry detergent buckets shipped back to our partner Meliora for sanitation and reuse.

2. Supporting Local Businesses

Zero waste stores are often rooted in their local communities, sourcing products from nearby artisans, and producers. By shopping at these stores, consumers can directly support local businesses and contribute to the economic vitality of their community. Unlike large corporations that prioritize profit margins over ethical and environmental considerations, local businesses are more likely to embrace sustainable practices, prioritize quality over quantity, and invest in the well-being of their employees and customers. By choosing to support local, shoppers can foster a sense of connection and belonging while promoting sustainable economic development.

Organic hand and body soap bottle being refilled

Fillaree a local (Durham, NC) woman-owned business producing organic home cleaning and personal care products is one of Ekologicall's local partners. 

3. Accessing Eco-Friendly Products

In addition to reducing plastic waste and supporting local businesses, shopping at zero waste stores like Ekologicall provides consumers with access to a wide range of eco-friendly products that are not readily available in conventional supermarkets. From organic and natural skincare products to reusable household items, zero waste stores offer an extensive selection of goods that align with ethical and environmental values. By prioritizing products that are ethically sourced, cruelty-free, and environmentally sustainable, consumers can make informed purchasing decisions that have a positive impact on both their health and the planet.

Vitamin C Brightening Serum

The European Union Cosmetics Regulation bans over 1,600 chemicals from cosmetics. The FDA prohibits or restricts only 11 chemicals/ingredients in cosmetics. This is why Ekologicall carefully curates its products.


4. Saving Money with Zero Waste Products

While the initial cost of zero waste products and sustainable alternatives may seem higher compared to their conventional counterparts, it's important to recognize that they often offer significant long-term savings. Investing in reusable items such as stainless steel water bottles, cloth grocery bags, and refillable containers not only reduces reliance on single-use plastics but also eliminates the need for frequent repurchases. Additionally, zero waste products are designed to be durable and long-lasting, meaning they need to be replaced less frequently, ultimately saving money over time.

Here are a few examples of cost-effective zero waste products:

  • Meliora's laundry powder costs only $0.15 per load of laundry, significantly less than traditional detergents.
  • A Swedish Cloth, priced at $6.30, can last between 6 to 12 months and replace up to 17 rolls of paper towels.
  • A shampoo bar starting at $9.80 can last for months, providing substantial savings compared to bottled shampoo.

By investing in zero waste products, not only do you benefit the environment, but you also save money in the long run.

5. Promoting Conscious Consumption

Beyond the tangible benefits of reducing plastic waste, supporting local businesses, and accessing eco-friendly products, shopping at zero waste stores promotes a mindset of conscious consumption. By encouraging customers to bring their own containers, shop mindfully, and minimize packaging waste, we foster a sense of responsibility and accountability among consumers. Rather than succumbing to the culture of overconsumption and disposable convenience that pervades mainstream retail, zero waste stores encourage individuals to consider the environmental and social implications of their purchasing habits. This shift towards conscious consumption not only reduces waste but also cultivates a deeper appreciation for the resources that sustain us and the importance of preserving them for future generations.

At first glance, it might seem unconventional for a retail store to advocate for conscious consumption. However, at Ekologicall, it's ingrained in our ethos to prioritize mindful purchasing and combat overconsumption. We believe in educating our community, offering sustainable alternatives, not pushing you to buy stuff you don't need. 

6. Fostering Community Engagement

Zero waste stores often serve as hubs for community engagement and activism, bringing together like-minded individuals who share a passion for sustainability and environmental stewardship. By hosting workshops, educational events, and community outreach programs they aim at raising awareness about environmental issues and empowering individuals to take action in their own lives. 

Ekologicall's Trash Talk at the Innovation Barn

7. Setting a Positive Example for Future Generations

By embracing a zero waste lifestyle and supporting zero waste stores, individuals set a positive example for future generations, inspiring them to live more sustainably and responsibly. Children who grow up shopping at zero waste stores learn valuable lessons about environmental stewardship, resource conservation, and the importance of mindful consumption. These early experiences shape their attitudes and behaviors towards sustainability, instilling a sense of responsibility and environmental consciousness that will guide them throughout their lives. By leading by example, we can create a legacy of sustainability that extends far into the future, leaving behind a healthier planet for generations to come.


In conclusion, the benefits of shopping at zero waste stores like Ekologicall are manifold, spanning environmental, social, economic, and personal dimensions. From reducing plastic waste, improving your health to fostering community engagement, the advantages of embracing a zero waste lifestyle are clear and compelling.

However, it's important to recognize the challenges faced by zero waste stores (and small businesses in general), especially in recent times when economic pressures have led to closures of several such stores. Despite these challenges, community support remains vital. By referring friends, leaving positive reviews, or simply spreading the word, you can help these stores thrive and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Last but not least, in our pursuit of sustainability, it's essential to remain vigilant against greenwashing - a marketing tactic employed by some companies to portray themselves as more environmentally friendly than they actually are. While many products may claim to be "green" or "eco-friendly," it's important to look beyond the label and examine the company's practices and values. By supporting genuine zero waste stores like Ekologicall, with their transparent commitment to sustainability, you can make informed choices and truly make a positive impact on our planet.

Small changes can make a world of difference!